YouTube has opened its Creator Music licensing marketplace to all YouTube Partner Program members in the United States. Here’s how it works.
YouTube first announced the program in September 2022 as a way for creators to purchase music rights in plain language for their videos. It also offers a revenue-sharing option for both creators and rights holders to earn money from the music’s incorporation into videos.
Creator Music offers an online dashboard where creators can browse music by genre, mood, or collection. Once an eligible track is found, creators can buy a license or opt-in to a revenue share agreement. It’s also important to note that Creator Music doesn’t replace the YouTube Audio Library of completely free music tracks for video creators to use.
To view completely free tracks in the new interface, creators can set the price filter to $0. YouTube notes if that doesn’t work, searching for ‘youtube audio library’ in Creator Music will bring up its library of free songs.
YouTube is working with several indie distributors including Empire, Downtown, Merlin, and Believe. None of the Big Three (Universal, Warner, Sony) are on board yet, but YouTube boasts that it does have over 100 labels involved with its Creator Music marketplace. The program is also only eligible to those channels that currently monetize their videos through the YouTube Partner Program.
“Each license you purchase through Creator Music allows you to use the licensed song on a single long-form video on YouTube,” the agreement states. “Creator Music doesn’t support licenses for use on live streams at this time, and we recommend using the Shorts music library to discover music for your Shorts.”
Music partners that own the rights to all the music in Music Creator set the license prices for individual tracks. Some tracks may set a one-size fits all price, while others may take a channel’s size into consideration for customized pricing. License pricing may change at any time, but it won’t affect past license purchases and usage. There’s no limit to the number of licensed tracks that can be added to a single video—but all music must be cleared to avoid Content ID claims.
Have more questions about how the Creator Music marketplace on YouTube works? Check out their FAQ.